This week has been some kind of crazy. We had our annual mission conference at church, which is always an enormous blessing. And very tiring. Getting everyone dinner and out the door and being out late night after night. Missing family time. Getting to bed much later than usual. And coming off of some really crazy time the last few weeks... it was all that much more so... crazy. There were special services and fellowship meals... and the kid's orchestra was playing so lots of practice time... and not to forget Easter is this weekend... which means company and shopping and cooking... and our very first Easter Cantata (which I can hardly wait to see)... and 2 services and a fellowship breakfast on Sunday.... and somewhere in there is real life, I think. That's what they call all the stuff in the middle. School, work and Allen's travel. Therapy and feeding. And I hope somehow my children felt they had some time to connect with their parents. So the point is, time has been, if possible, shorter than usual. And balancing everything is always a challenge. Finding time to run this week has not been easy.
Although, the weather has been beautiful for getting out there. Sixties and Seventies. Sunshine. Everything I love about running in the spring. Well, until this morning. It's rainy here today. And at 8:00, when I was supposed to be heading out, it was pouring down rain. I hate running in the rain. It was very tempting to say never mind and crawl back into bed for a cuddle with Carmella. But I grabbed my partners and we went anyway. I have seen improvement in my health these last few months but it is not recovering as fast as I would like. My legs are so weak. And it is allergy season which means more asthma attacks. So I was really working hard today. And wet. And, I am sorry to say, grumbling in my heart for the first two miles.
I got to thinking about all I had to do before Allen and the kids left for rehearsal. I started doing a mental status report of things back home to get a handle on the situation. Carmella would be dressing. Kaitlin and the big boys would be finishing their showers. I hope they left me a dry towel. Elisabeth and Sam would, hopefully, be ready to run with Allen. And Allen would be giving Addison his bottle. Still.
A thought which started me doing some calculating. But hold that thought for a minute.
We are putting together a team to run 5K in DC in an event to promote Down Syndrome Awareness. We hope to have 21 people. Not expert runners, although there will be more seasoned athletes in our group. Our goal is to bring out those people committed to Addison's life. To be honest I am not altogether sure how an event such as the Race 4 Respect really helps Addison. I think those who are helped the most are those who learn to push themselves through the hard work of preparation. And the people, who through meeting those with down syndrome, realize maybe their life isn't so hard after all. Perhaps, they might develop a greater sense of gratitude. Perhaps, they will gain a new sense of compassion through this making a connection with people who have special needs and they come to a greater understanding of the challenges they must face every day.
I thought about our running team. Some people have never run before. Others have not run in a while. Some should have lots of free time on their hands to get ready for race day. Others will be striving hard to find time for training.
Time. That takes me back to the calculation. People are always complaining about their time, or lack thereof. And probably the biggest excuse I hear from people in regards to exercise is they don't have time. So I was thinking the average person could probably, rather easily, run a 9 minute 5K. But just to keep it simple I will say 10 minutes. So when you have trained up to a full 5K said person would be running for 30 minutes at a time. For proper training a novice should train 3 times a week. Altogether then that boils down to about 90 minutes a week. This may be a great challenge for someone who has never run before. But the average person definitely has the ability. The only hindrance is their own will power and commitment.
Which took me back to Addison. And that blasted bottle. Addison wakes up at 7:30. After he nurses he gets weighed for the day. We give him meds. Which means putting a syringe in his throat. Some days we are down right slothful and we snuggle or read a book for a few minutes. But by 8:00 he is in his feeding chair for his bottle. He works for 90 minutes to consume about (on a good feeding) 2 ounces. So much runs out of his mouth that he must be bathed after every feeding. He is soaked through all his clothes, no matter what we do... towels, bibs, etc. So he hops into the sink for a scrub down. Again, sometimes we throw all caution to the wind and he gets to splash in the water for a little while. After he dresses he moves on to mouth therapy. So his mouth can get stronger. So hopefully, one day, it won't take him 90 minutes to drink 2 ounces. And maybe even one day he will be able to get his nutrition from solid food. By 10:00 he is completely exhausted from the entire experience and goes to sleep for 2 solid hours. And then we do it all again. Four times a day.
In the time most of us can run 15 kilometers a week Addison drinks 2 ounces of formula. And I guarantee you he works far harder doing so than any of us will ever work at running. It is time to put grumbling aside. Because even if it is the hardest thing you have ever done, it is only 90 minutes a week. And it won't last forever. And your life doesn't depend on it. That's perspective.
I challenge you to choose something hard. Rise up and push yourself to accomplish it. Because there are lots of people out there who would like to have the ability which makes it only a matter of choice to go for a run. But every day they face a physical impossibility. And yet, they get up every day. Fight hard. Then do it again.
Do something hard and dedicate it to one of these people. It doesn't have to be running.
Although, if you want to join our team just shoot me an email. You don't need to live in our area to take part. You can simply say, "I'm up for the challenge and I will be running three 5k runs a week between now and May 30th." And in lieu of giving money for registration you could commit to spend your running time praying for Addison to gain victory over eating. Or find someone with exceptional challenges and find a way to help with their daily trials. Or reach out to a family affected by special needs and look for ways to lighten their load.
Go on. Just do it!